I am still early in my degree, but this has been the subject of a wifely grilling or two already. For me, there is no question: If I do go into criminal law, I will give any client that I might have the most vigorous defence I can possibly muster within the laws and ethics that govern me.
That's the role of a defence lawyer, without which the criminal justice system becomes immeasurably weaker and less fair.
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07-06-2012 22:45 #41
07-06-2012 22:54 #42Senior Member
- Join Date
- Nov 2011
I am a criminal lawyer but I prosecute rather than defend. My partner is a defence lawyer. It makes for some interesting conversations over dinner!
07-06-2012 23:45 #43
08-06-2012 00:04 #44Senior Member
- Join Date
- Oct 2007
I began my legal career in criminal defence and wanted nothing more than to be a defence lawyer but my fear of public speaking stopped me achieving this goal
I assisted in trials involving accusations of child molestation, murder (some well known), rape, down to petty crimes.
For me being a defence lawyer was never about the individual client per sae but rather each persons right to a fair trial. Every person is entitled to procedural fairness and you cannot have this without the right to enter a plea of not guilty or have your mitigating reasons for committing a crime presented for a magistrate/judge to consider before handing down a sentence.
We made it clear to a client when we first met with them that we did not want to know if they committed the crime unless they intended to enter a plea of guilty. Ethically a lawyer should not represent someone who has admitted guilt but is pleading not guilty (unless there is a defence such as provocation or diminished responsibility due to insanity for example). I know that not all criminal lawyers adhere to this requirement though which is perhaps one of many reasons why the profession is ranked as one of the most untrustworthy.
I was taught to disengage from my emotions when I assisted on a child molestation case. It was hard to do but when you read the same statements over and over you do become desensitised to what you are reading. This training is probably one reasons why I sometimes come across as hard when dealing with my family law clients. I have no emotional attachment to the subject area and to do my job properly I have to disengage (not always easy and I have had two clients in my career who had me in tears during their appointments due to what they told me).
Our adversarial system demands the right to a defence and I for one am damn glad that this is the case because if I am charged with something that I have not done I want the best defence possible.
Last edited by MsTruth; 08-06-2012 at 00:06.
08-06-2012 00:18 #45
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